Salaries in Germany

When you look for a job in Germany, you must know what salary you should get. This helps you negotiate a better salary.

Salaries by profession

These tools help you find how much you should earn.

Rates for freelancers

Taxes in Germany

When you negotiate your salary, you negotiate your gross income. The amount you keep after taxes is your net income.

In Germany, you pay around 35% of your salary in taxes and social contributions.1 Your employer takes them directly from your paycheck.

How taxes work ➞

Tax calculator ➞

Minimum wage and median income

Median income

The median household income in Germany is 42,192€ per year. In Berlin, it’s 43,572€ per year.2 This is only for households with working people. The median income per person is much lower: 2,109€ per month.6 The median income for immigrants is lower.

Compare your income (German) – Enter your Netto income, see how it compares to what other people earn.

Median income by profession (German) – Federal Employment Office

Median income by location (German) – Federal Employment Office

Minimum wage

The minimum wage (Mindestlohn) in Germany is 12.41€ per hour.3 Some professions have a higher minimum wage (Branchenmindestlohn).

Around 4% of jobs pay the minimum wage.4

Cost of living

Your salary should match the local cost of living. Salaries in Munich are higher than in Berlin, but living in Munich is more expensive. Salaries in Berlin are lower than in New York, but life in Berlin is cheaper than in New York.

Before you negotiate your salary, look at the cost of living in your area.

Cost of living in Berlin ➞

Bonuses

Yearly bonus

Some employers pay a yearly bonus (13. Monatsgehalt). It’s usually in your work contract.5 You pay income tax on this bonus.

Relocation bonus

Some companies offer a relocation bonus. This helps you pay for your relocation costs. You can also negotiate this amount. Sometimes, it’s a fixed amount, and sometimes they refund your real costs. Sometimes, you get your relocation bonus with your first paycheck, 30 to 45 days after you start working. You pay income tax on your relocation bonus.

When you get a job offer, you can negotiate a bigger relocation bonus.

If you don’t get a relocation bonus, your relocation are still tax-deductible. – More information

When do I get paid?

In Germany, most people are paid once per month, usually on the 1st or 15th day of the month. You get your first paycheck after 30 or 45 days after you start working. If you are just moving to Germany, you need enough savings to survive the first 6 weeks.

Almost everyone is paid by bank transfer. If you start working in Germany, you need a bank account that supports SEPA transfers. Your bank can be in another European country.

Sources and footnotes
  1. destatis.de 

  2. Arbeitsagentur, focus.de (2020), bz-berlin.de (2020) 

  3. zoll.de 

  4. destatis.de 

  5. wirtschaftsforum.de 

  6. iwkoeln.de